It is a very large world out there with well over 193 recognized countries. If you add all the dozens of colonies and territories controlled by other countries that are rapidly growing to well over 200 countries in the world. For eBay sellers who want to expand internationally, many of them fear the customs rules and regulations that are different in each country. How could an eBay seller be well versed in the customs regulations of each country? The answer is simply that you cannot. So what does an eBay seller do to avoid this problem by choosing to offer your product to the worldwide market? Slow methodical International expansion is the way to do and make customs rules your buyer's responsibility.
Stage 1 for a US seller international expansion
The first step in the process is to change your shipping policy page for your listings. One of the great features that eBay offers is that you can select specific countries that you would like to start servicing internationally. But which countries should you choose? Currently, USPS offers a service internationally called 1st Class Package International. The USPS raised the postage rates for this service level category and, in some cases, doubled the rates. However, it does allow a new eBay International customer to ship a 4 oz package internationally and receive a delivery confirmation scan in select countries. These are the first countries to start with for your new eBay International Business.
Enable the following countries:
Canada Australia United Kingdom
Netherlands Germany Switzerland
Belgium New Zealand Sweden
Spain Ireland Finland
France Portugal Brazil
If you use an order management system like Shipstation or Shipworks, they allow you to purchase insurance for these packages. This will alleviate your concerns about potential fraud and lost packages.
Make sure you adjust your shipping policy pages to reflect the fact that you are now serving the above countries. Make sure you choose the right shipping service and mention that you do not offer combined delivery on international orders. Additionally, be sure to note that goods prohibited from traveling to your country are the responsibility of the buyer. The seller is not responsible for prohibited, restricted or objects prevented from entering your customs office. If you have any questions about access restrictions, contact your local customs office. Tasks and taxes for shipping are the sole responsibility of the buyer.
Addressing Brand System
As you expand into the international market, you want to use an address management system that will grow with your business. I always recommend using Endicia.com. Endicia allows you to take advantage of commercial base prices for your domestic packages and allows you to generate the first labels in the first class package. This will become an important feature as your business grows.
Measure your success
Keep track of how many packages you ship internationally daily. The most important metrics you want to measure are the following:
1) Number of international orders?
2) Percentage of lost packages relative to your international orders?
3) Percentage of fraudulent orders?
4) How does this compare to your US business?
5) Which country do you receive the most orders from?
Step 2 for an eBay US seller's international expansion (shipping more than 20 packages per day overseas)
So you have been in phase one of your international expansion and you are seeing a real success with the expansion of your business. As a seller, you know that if you can lower your postage rates internationally, you will be able to expand your business further. How do you achieve this? You contact a USPS Postal Qualified wholesaler. To find and contact a post-qualified wholesaler, you will contact your global account manager with USPS.
OK, so you've found a USPS post-qualified wholesaler and want to know which USPS Bulk International Mailing program to choose? This question is answered differently by each eBay seller. For the most part, you have two options listed below:
USPS International Priority Airmail
This is a USPS 1st Class International postal service offered by Postal Qualified Wholesalers (PQW) to over 200 countries worldwide. In essence, the USPS has outsourced the US side sorting, transportation and preparation required for international distribution. PQW will deliver your mail to the USPS International Sorting Center (ISC) that is packaged and ready to depart on the next flight. As the USPS receives written mail, your parcels will not be scanned at the acceptance facility nor will you receive a delivery confirmation scan in the destination country. The benefits of this service are that in many cases your postage rates are reduced to half. You will be able to upload the same tracking numbers to eBay, but they will not scan for delivery. Now this is where your stats come in handy. If you experience a high loss rate from your Step 1 test, this service is not for you. However, if you are experiencing a pallet loss rate, you can test this service to optimize your mail savings and increase your amount of international orders you have received. In case you feel you need to follow these orders, use the next service. For more information on International Priority Airmail see my article on EzineArticles.com entitled USPS International Priority Airmail for eCommerce Companies.
USPS commercial ePacket
This is a USPS 1st Class International mailing service offered by Postal Qualified Wholesalers (PQW) to only 15 countries worldwide. The main difference between commercial ePacket and International Priority Airmail is that ePacket will have a delivery confirmation number and scanned provided by the receiving post office. The exchange here is that this service is more expensive than International Priority Airmail.
Some important considerations that you will take when deciding which direction to take in your international shipping method
1) Will your increase in business outweigh any risk of lost packages?
2) How many fraudulent claims are you currently experiencing internationally?
3) Is your product sales price low in value and easily replaced if your package is lost?
4) Would you be willing to self-insure by withholding a small portion of the postage savings to eliminate any risk of loss?